The Hubble Space Telescope has done it again. The orbiting optical telescope has captured a vivid image of a small yet bright galaxy discovered two centuries ago, NGC 4707, allowing scientists to see the galaxy in greater detail.
Discovered by British-German astronomer William Herschel in April 1789, the stellar galaxy is located some 22 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, Latin for "hunting dogs" in Latin. Herschel is known for his discovery of Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun.
Centuries Of Change
The advanced technology on the Hubble telescope, which includes the Advanced Camera for Surveys, enabled the observatory to take a closer look at and snap a more detailed photo of the galaxy. The new image shows many intricacies of NGC 4707 not reported before.
According to the European Space Agency, Herschel saw NGC 4707 as a small and stellar galaxy.
NGC 4707 is classified as a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way, but unlike our galaxy, it doesn't seem to have a central bulge, or the bulge is very small. The Hubble image also shows that the spiral arms and the galaxy's overall shape are not as defined as those of other spiral galaxies.
"It instead appears as a rough sprinkling of stars and bright flashes of blue on a dark canvas," the ESA said.
In the image, the blue smudges highlight areas where star formation occurs. Stars that can be seen glowing bright blue are those that are recently formed, while stars in reddish shades are older.
Gains Of Hubble
Launched aboard Discovery, the space shuttle of NASA, the Hubble telescope has been in action since April 1990.
It was the first major optical telescope to operate from orbit and has made more than 1.2 million observations so far. Hubble's major achievement has been the ability to image objects 13 billion light-years away and it creates 10 terabytes of data per annum.
Hubble has captured spectacular photos of nebulae and galaxies by probing the cosmos in detail.
Astronomers hail the way the Hubble Space Telescope has changed the face of observational astronomy in a quarter century by introducing the remotest reaches of the universe to millions of people.
Many Nobel Prize-winning discoveries in physics had been backed by the telescope in the past two decades, including the acceleration of the universe.
Hubble celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015 by releasing a stunning image of a giant cluster of 3,000 stars dubbed Westerlund 2.